Decoding Metro Manila’s Driving Scheme

Traffic in the Manila Metro area of the Philippines is a grisly reality that anyone driving there is forced to live with. The daily traffic volume of cars totals somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.2 million vehicles. That’s a lot of cars vying for passage on the short streets of the Philippines’ capital city. A number coding scheme is their way of addressing this issue. Known as the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP), the program is designed to minimize the number of vehicles present on the roads of Manila at any given time. That is accomplished by restricting vehicles on the roadways based on license plate numbers. License plates ending in 1 and 2 can drive on any day but Monday; plates ending in 3 and 4 are not permitted to drive on Tuesdays; and the list goes on. If you are caught driving on a day when your plate number is prohibited, you will incur a penalty. It won’t break the bank though — the fine is typically 300 Philippine Pesos, or $5.19. Weekends and holidays are exempt from the coding rule. It’s not only the days you have to be concerned about, but the times as well. The code enforcement is effective from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. So, if you have a car with a license plate that ends in 1 or 2, which prohibits you from driving on Mondays, as long as you get out there after 10 a.m. and before 5 p.m., you’re good to go. Of course, it goes without saying that service vehicles like ambulances, fire trucks, public utility vehicles, etc. are exempt from the coding system.